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Vermont Steals Spot From MIT Gymnasts

Catamounts Overtake MIT; Beavers Need A Score of 170 at Final Meet for Nationals

By David Hu

TEAM MEMBER

At this year’s New England Championships, the MIT men’s gymnastics team spent their most teeth-grinding moments sitting on the bench.

The Beavers had finished all six events while the University of Vermont competed on their final event, the parallel bars. Vermont needed to score 27.45 points in order to nudge the Beavers further away from qualifying for Nationals.

Vermont scored their highest on parallel bars this year, pulling ahead of the Beavers, 164.65 to 162.75. Despite the loss, MIT’s score was a team high for the season.

MIT competed against five other teams at the New Englands, including the University of Massachusetts, Springfield College, Southern Connecticut College, and a new team called the “individuals.” MIT lost to all but the “individuals,” whom the Beavers proudly shut out by 71.15 points.

MIT had the potential to beat UVM. Coach Noah Riskin said MIT had “an excellent competition -- some excellent performances and great overall spirit and focus.”

The beginning of the meet proved traumatic for MIT. The sheer volume of the other teams and another team’s catcall of “Special Olympics” clouded the Beavers’ focus momentarily.

The result of the team’s distraction was a score of 20.0 on pommel horse. Every gymnast fell except Luke A. Massery ’02 and David Yin ’03.

Besides pommel horse, the MIT men competed at a high level and beat their scores from last meet on floor exercise, still rings, vault, and high bar.

The awards ceremony afterward recognized top scores in the New England region. Damian M. Engen ’03 took sixth place on vault, parallel bars, and all-around. Massery took sixth place for his 8.3 on floor exercise. Patrick R. Griffin ’04 won seventh place as an all-arounder for his total score and season high of 44.2.

“Patrick’s parallel bars routine was very good; a strong mount, Stutz [to handstand], etc ... in other words Patrick performed to his potential,” said Riskin.

In two weeks, MIT competes for the next and perhaps last time this year at the East Coast Athletic Championships, held at the College of William and Mary.

In order to qualify for Nationals, MIT needs to make up for Sunday’s loss by not only beating Vermont at ECACs, but also by scoring at least 170. Attaining this goal is possible.

“If we’re to win our trip to Nationals, Patrick’s level of performance can’t be the exception,” said Riskin. “We need to add just a few requirements and double our efforts on routines... something I’m asking [all team members] to do together and support one another on.”